Richard Pryor

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Richard Pryor : biography

December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005

In 2002, Pryor and his wife and manager, Jennifer Lee Pryor, won legal rights to all the Laff material, which amounted to almost 40 hours of reel-to-reel analog tape. After going through the tapes and getting Richard’s blessing, Jennifer Lee Pryor gave access to the tapes to Rhino Records in 2004. These tapes, including the entire Craps album, form the basis of the double-CD release Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974).

A 2003 television documentary, Richard Pryor: I Ain’t Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! consisted of archival footage of Pryor’s performances and testimonials from fellow comedians, including Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Wanda Sykes, and Denis Leary, on Pryor’s influence on comedy.

In 2004, Pryor was voted #1 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. In a 2005 British poll to find The Comedian’s Comedian, Pryor was voted the 10th greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.

In late 2004, his sister said he had lost his voice as result of his multiple sclerosis. However, on January 9, 2005, Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Lee, rebutted this statement in a post on Pryor’s official website, citing Richard as saying: "I’m sick of hearing this shit about me not talking… not true… I have good days, bad days… but I still am a talkin’ motherfucker!"

Pryor was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. The animal rights organization PETA gives out an award in Pryor’s name to people who have done outstanding work to alleviate animal suffering. Pryor was active in animal rights and was deeply concerned about the plight of elephants in circuses and zoos.

Remembrance and legacy

A planned biopic entitled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? is being produced by Chris Rock and Adam Sandler. The film will star Marlon Wayans as the young Pryor. Other actors previously attached include Mike Epps and Eddie Murphy. The film will be directed by Bill Condon and is still in development with no release date, as of February, 2013.

On December 19, 2005, BET aired a Pryor special. It included commentary from fellow comedians, and insight into his upbringing.

An image of Pryor can be seen on the Rage Against the Machine music video for their cover of Soulsonic Force "Renegades of Funk".

On March 1, 2008, fellow comedian George Carlin performed his final HBO special. An image of Pryor can be seen in the background throughout his set. Carlin would mention Pryor’s death in his memoir, Last Words, noting their friendly rivalry that lasted until Carlin finally beat him "in the Heart Attack 5000."

A retrospective of Pryor’s film work, concentrating on the 1970s, entitled "A Pryor Engagement," opens at Brooklyn Academy of Music Cinemas for a two-week run in February, 2013.

In Jackson Browne’s tribute to roadies and fans, "The Load-Out", released on the 1977 album Running on Empty, the lyrics state that "we got Richard Pryor on the video" on the tour bus.

From June 7 to June 9, 2013 SiriusXM hosted "Richard Pryor Radio", a 3 day tribute which featured his stand up comedy and full live concerts. "Richard Pryor Radio" replaced The Foxxhole for the duration of the event.

Filmography

  • 1967 – The Busy Body
  • 1968 – Uncle Tom’s Fairy Tales
  • 1968 – Wild in the Streets
  • 1970 – Black Brigade
  • 1970 – The Phynx
  • 1971 – You’ve Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You’ll Lose That Beat
  • 1972 – Dynamite Chicken
  • 1972 – Lady Sings the Blues
  • 1973 – The Mack
  • 1973 – Wattstax
  • 1973 – Hit!
  • 1973 – Some Call It Loving
  • 1974 – Uptown Saturday Night
  • 1975 – The Lion Roars Again
  • 1976 – Adios Amigo
  • 1976 – Car Wash
  • 1976 – The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
  • 1976 – Silver Streak
  • 1977 – Which Way Is Up?
  • 1977 – Greased Lightning
  • 1978 – Blue Collar
  • 1978 – The Wiz
  • 1978 – California Suite
  • 1979 – Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
  • 1979 – The Muppet Movie – (cameo)
  • 1980 – Wholly Moses
  • 1980 – In God We Tru$t
  • 1980 – Stir Crazy
  • 1981 – Bustin’ Loose
  • 1982 – Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
  • 1982 – Some Kind of Hero
  • 1982 – The Toy
  • 1983 – Superman III
  • 1983 – Richard Pryor: Here and Now
  • 1983 – Motown 25
  • 1985 – Live & Smokin’
  • 1985 – Brewster’s Millions
  • 1986 – Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling
  • 1987 – Critical Condition
  • 1988 – Moving
  • 1989 – See No Evil, Hear No Evil
  • 1989 – Harlem Nights
  • 1991 – The Three Muscatels
  • 1991 – Another You
  • 1994 – A Century of Cinema
  • 1996 – Mad Dog Time
  • 1997 – Lost Highway
  • 1999 – The Norm Show – (cameo in opening of season 2, episode 11)
  • 2003 – Bitter Jester
  • 2003 – I Ain’t Dead Yet, #*%$@!!
  • 2005 – Richard Pryor: The Funniest Man Dead Or Alive
  • 2009 – Black Dynamite – (archive footage)
  • 2013 – Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic – (archive footage)